The warmth of a crackling fire while watching snow fall outside your window … the spritz of fresh fruit when you take the first bite …the serenity of snuggling under a comforter to watch a movie classic … the joy felt when meeting a friend for conversation and coffee or any favorite beverage. All of these promote relaxation and a necessary respite from our all too busy lives.
Everyone has different strategies to try to successfully achieve the seemingly ever-elusive goal of work-life balance. My husband prefers to exercise at the local health club or occasionally mindlessly push a button on a slot machine. Many of my friends choose to practice yoga, Pilates, Zumba, or meditation.
For the past 10 years, my favorite release had been going for long walks throughout the many scenic areas located in Rhode Island with Brrande the beautiful, our beloved “diva dog.” Sadly, on Columbus Day this all ended, since the appeal of this activity diminished greatly without her by my side.
Now, six months and 10 additional pounds later, my stress level has seemed slightly elevated. I invest more hours at the office, and that work-life balance is precarious at best. Yes, I spend less time cooking — we tend to go out more often to dinner (thus also attributing to those 10 pounds!). And, yes, we don’t worry about rushing home as early from a concert, performance, or evening with friends. Nor do we feel the urge to jump out of bed on weekends, “just in case.”
Yet something seems amiss — our routine has been interrupted, our timing is just a bit off.
You can probably guess where this is going, right? After all, pets have been scientifically proven to be amazing stress reducers … so … after months of staring longingly at photos of forlorn (in my opinion) puppies on shelter websites (all of which now appear as favorites on my cell phone!) — we’re going to adopt! She’s a three-month-old combo Border Collie (maybe), setter (maybe), spaniel (maybe) who, with her mother and eight siblings, were found, according to Rhode Home Rescue (an amazing organization with numerous JWU alum volunteers) “dumped in an abandoned house in Tennessee.”
This will be our third rescue puppy. The first, Alyeska, was adopted from the RISPCA; the second, the aforementioned Brrande the beautiful, was rescued by Sterling Shelter in Massachusetts; and now, Casside, has been saved by Rhode Home Rescue. If you decide you too could use some stress relief in the form of a rescue pet to assist in maintaining your own work-life balance, consider some of these tips for success.
- Check out numerous shelter sites — both local and national — and be sure you’re not looking at puppy mills merely claiming to be shelter rescues.
- The days of walking into a shelter and walking out that same day with a pet have changed. Most reputable rescues want to be sure you and your new pet are a good match, not merely that you were the first person to walk through the door.
- Be prepared to provide photos (or a tour if you’re local) of your home including outside photos of your yard and neighborhood.
- In addition, similar to a job search, you’ll need to supply references — friends, neighbors, your previous veterinarian or daycare provider.
- Make sure, when adopting, the fee you’re paying for your new future best friend includes shots, neutering, vaccines, transportation (if needed), etc.
- Many rescues require signed contracts. Some however, also provide a “trial period” — usually a week — to make sure this new arrangement/relationship is going to be “furrever” (Rhode Home Rescue’s term, not mine).
- Consider a plan for training prior to picking up your pet, especially if you choose a “baby” puppy, approximately 3 months old. It should include a variety of rest, play, socialization, proper toys, diet and exercise and can be done by you or organizations providing formalized “kindergarten” programs.
- Finally, remember, your new pet is just as individual as you are — try not to compare or have unrealistic expectations. Let them be the naturally wonderful unique pet they were born to be.
Would be remiss, to end this blog without sending special kudos to all the individuals involved in such organizations as, RISPCA, Sterling Shelter and Rhode Home Rescue who work tirelessly every day to provide abandoned or poorly treated innocent animals’ better lives. By doing so, they make our lives complete — and, yes, well-balanced.
National Adopt-a-Shelter-Pet Day is April 30.
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